Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PLG Welcomes Laura Mortier

Laura's Avatar
Laura is our in-house native French speaker, having grown up both in the Alps region of France and in the United States. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts with a Focus in Graphic Design and a minor in French Studies from the University of Wisconsin. Laura will be primarily responsible for our French language projects, particularly those that deal with translations for Canada. In recent years, PLG has seen unprecedented growth in our French language translation services. French has quickly become a top language for PLG, along with Spanish, Chinese, German and Italian. PLG currently has project managers fluent in all of these languages.

PLG is proud of its newest team member. Welcome to PLG Laura!

French translations continue to be in demand because of Canada French language law

Bilingual stop sign in Canada

The Official Language Act of 1974 made French the only language of Quebec, and then replaced by the Charter of the French Language in 1997, which required French as the only language for advertising and education. Simply put, any commercial signs, packaging, and public information had to be in French. Certainly the law came without controversy but the law has also prompted the rest of Canada to also require French to the public, at least to a certain degree. Because of French language laws in Canada, many U.S. advertisers and importers have seen a need for translating their English materials. This includes product packaging, instruction manuals and booklets, marketing pamphlets among others. As a result of this law, PLG continues to see a high demand for French language translations. Many U.S. advertisers and manufacturers that want to go into Canada cannot do without French translations. PLG’s focus on providing its customer’s services tailored for Canada has positioned PLG as a leader in French translations in North America.

PLG offers services in French language translation and typesetting. It also offers a full service compliance review service for Canada and Mexico and is currently working on developing its Chinese.

For more information about our French translation services, please visit

For more information about our Canadian and Mexican Compliance services, please visit the url's below:

Canadian Compliance
Mexican Compliance

Client Spotlight: Masuda Funai

Masuda Funai, a corporate law firm specializing in global affairs has partnered with PLG to provide translation services to their various clients. These services include corporate contracts, immigration documents, visas, diplomas and transcripts and other personal documents necessary for the corporate establishment in the United States. Languages include Spanish, Slovakian, Portuguese, Polish, Chinese, Slovenian, Korean, Japanese, Dutch and German.  Legal translations have formed a growing portion of PLG’s service offering and Masuda Funai has been a key player in expanding this.

For more information on Masuda Funai, please visit their website at

For more information on our certificate translation services, please visit 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Foreign visitors to World Cup aided by nonprofit translation program

This year, even monolingual sports fanatics were able to enjoy the World Cup. This year’s edition of soccer’s biggest tournament was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Portuguese is the official language. Over half a million foreigners attended to see teams from 32 countries compete for the cup. In order to help all of those people navigate through everyday situations like hailing a taxi, consulting a doctor, or ordering from a restaurant, a Korean non-profit organization set up a language assistance service that operated 24 hours a day during the tournament. The service is called Rio Amigo. Calling the right number connected tourists to a volunteer translator speaking one of seven languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Korean) who were then able to communicate with the locals in Portuguese. Rio Amigo is the direct descendent of Before Babel Brigade, a similar service developed for the 2002 World Cup, which was hosted by South Korea and Japan. Due to its popularity, the number of volunteer translators has more than doubled since then. The World Cup may be over, but perhaps by the next one (in four years’ time), more languages will be offered.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Meet our new staff: Joy and Keith

Last month, PLG welcomed two new staff members: Joy Shapley (Project Manager) and Keith Jordan (Director of New Business Development). Read more to learn a few interesting facts about the newest additions to the PLG team.


Joy Shapley is a recent graduate of the Translation Certificate Program at the University of Illinois. She has a bachelor’s degree in linguistics, speaks Spanish fluently, and is currently studying Japanese, Arabic, and German. As a project manager, Joy will be responsible for overseeing translation projects from the initial quote to the final edits. In her free time, Joy likes to read, write, and play sports; rugby is her game of choice, but she admits to being obsessed with the World Cup as well.

As Director of New Business Development, Keith Jordan will be in charge of talking to potential customers and explaining the ins and outs of what we do here at PLG. He is a native of New Jersey who moved here in 2002. Now he resides in Rockford with his wife Mary and his three children: Destiny, BJ, and Brian. Keith is an avid swimmer, but he’s not a fan of any other sports. When he’s not at work, Keith enjoys reading the Bible and participating in activities for his church.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Microsoft’s new Skype feature: Translating calls in real time

Last month at the Code technology conference, technology giant Microsoft announced a new feature for Skype, the decade-old video conferencing program allowing people from around the world to talk to each other, face-to-face. Skype has more than 300 million active users, and is currently available worldwide for free. The new feature is slated to “translate” conversations in real time; that is, after a sentence is said, an automated voice will repeat that sentence in the language of your choice.

Sounds like something out of science fiction? Well, don’t drop out of your foreign language classes quite yet – the new technology, as impressive as it is, still has its flaws. In practice, it seems like you will be able to understand the gist of what the other person is saying, but the translated sentences that result from your conversation will sound choppy and strange to a native speaker. Useful for saying hi to your friend Christiane in France, perhaps, but for a serious business meeting, you’re better off hiring a professional interpreter.

For more on this story visit the official Microsoft Blog article at

Project Spotlight: Pro-Tec Athletics

In keeping with this July's newsletter’s theme (World Cup), our project spotlight this month is the work we’ve done for Pro-Tec Athletics, specifically the Gel Force™ Knee Support label (English to German) and the Foam Roller User Guide (English to Canadian French). The former was a translation-only project, meaning that we provided the client with a bilingual Word document containing all of the text on the label in English and German. The latter was a little more challenging, as we were asked to prepare, translate, and then format the French User Guide in the exact same manner as the English version, including images and fonts! Thanks to our great in-house design team, however, we were able to deliver a translated User Guide that was just as flashy as the original.

One of the challenges of formatting labels that have been translated into French is the limited space available. On average, if English text is translated into French, the French text will take up about 50% more space. For example, the phrase “user guide” is “guide de l’utilisateur” in French! Our designers, in order to ensure quality in the finished product, always have to take differences like these into account.

Great job team!

To learn about Pro-tec Athletics cool products, check them out at 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Best Design Application for Translation

Here at PLG, we deal with many file types and typesetting programs, but for the sake of simplicity, we are going to look at 4 of the most common: Word, InDesign, Illustrator and PDF. In this article, we will answer which file type is the most compatible with translation. Read on to find out more.

For simple translations that contain little to no formatting and images, Word files are best used. This way, the client can use the translation however which way he or she wants. Word can certainly make the job simpler. However, for Word files that contain complex formatting (charts, long tables composed of numbers and text, and images,) using word can become a translator’s nightmare. Word has poor text design capabilities so Word should be preferred for texts with little to no formatting.

InDesign files are the most common file type when translating manuals, catalogs, books, magazines and marketing materials such as brochures and flyers. The best feature of using InDesign is the ability to export text into an XML translation file format. This allows translators and typesetters more flexibility in working with InDesign. Much more can be done with InDesign than with many other programs.

The other most common format used in translations is Illustrator. While commonly used, Illustrator files are generally not very “translation-friendly” however. Illustrator’s XML features are less robust which means text has to be manually copied and pasted, often one text box at a time. If you feel like you would want to translate your manuals or materials with large amounts of text, opt out of Illustrator and use InDesign instead. However; Illustrator is best used when translating packaging or other artwork with small amounts of text (less than 300 words).

Contrary to popular belief, PDFs are the least compatible with translation. The reason for this is that the PDFs were generally created with another software program (such as InDesign or Illustrator for example). In those cases, the original source file should be used. When the source file is not available, the only option is to recreate the PDF in an appropriate format. The only exception is if the PDF is an editable PDF file, which is rarely the case.

Other programs/file types that are translation-friendly include Framemaker, HTML, XML, Excel, and TXT files.

Which file types do you use most often?

Project Highlight: PRO1 Manuals and Packaging – Spanish and French

Earlier in the year, PLG completed the translation and typesetting of PRO1’s technical installation and operation manuals and packaging for their heating and cooling controls products into Spanish and French. The project was a 3 month project, and with Spanish and French combined, PLG translated a total of about 184,000 words and did the typesetting of 850 pages! Managing a project of such size is certainly a large undertaking. For these 3 months, we had a team of 2 translators, 2 typesetters, 2 editors and 1 project manager working exclusively on PRO1’s project.  With this combined effort, the project was delivered within Pro1’s schedule.

We were certainly excited to work on this project and are eager to continue supporting PRO1 Technologies in their future translation needs.

“Thanks again for all your hard work” – Matt Bellows, Graphic Artist, PRO1 Technolgoies

To learn more about PRO1, visit their website at

Waygo: An App that helps you eat Authentic Chinese food

Have you ever been curious what was being served in the Chinese menu at a Chinese restaurant? Well it used to be that only those that knew how to read Chinese would be able to order from that menu. Now, there is an app that fixes this problem. Developers at Translate Abroad have developed an app that automatically translates the menu for you into English. No longer do you have to drag your Chinese friend to come with you, you can go it all alone.

If you love Chinese food, you know this problem very well. You are sitting at the table and you glance over at the Chinese family that is brought something entirely different than what is written on your English menu. You ask them, “what is that?” and they give you the name of a Chinese dish that you’ve never heard of. You thought you knew all about Chinese food (you’ve mastered Orange chicken, Egg Foo Young, Chop Suey) but now your claims to Chinese food expertise have been tested.

Using the app to translate the Chinese menu allows you to choose dishes that are more authentic.

We tried this out on a few Chinese items we had found, below is our results. Would you eat any of these delicious-sounding dishes?

The app can be downloaded at the link below (only available for iPhone only at this time).

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